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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  March 4, 2014 6:00am-8:01am PST

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>> that's not just stepping up. amazing story. >> very nice. there's a lot of news. we leave you with the good stuff. we deliver you over to a good man. the "newsroom" with jake tapper. good morning. thanks for joining me for this special edition of cnn "newsroom." i'm jake tapper in for carol costello. we join with the neighboring dispute in crimea. tensions are ratcheting up. a tense scene, russian forces firing shots as unarmed troop try to approach them. one lead ago peels for the brother nations to hold negotiations.
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ukraine says 16,000 southern forces control the region. this morning president putin says though peaceful, force remains an option. he says russia has no plans to make crimea a part of russia. new this morning, secretary of state john kerry arrives in kiev in ukraine to discuss financial assistance for the nation. and washington sends a message to moscow suspending the plan to trade investment talks with russia. first, global markets making a comeback today. u.s. stocks took a big hit yesterday including the dow which suffered a triple digit loss. let's bring in in christine romans. what is behind the bounceback? how do markets look now? >> markets look good now for u.s. stocks. what's behind the bounce back is the fact president putin ended the military exercises in russia. when that happened and the president gave his press conference about four to five hours ago and said that he was not going to an ex crimea, you
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saw the highs reached in stock futures. dow up 165, nasdaq up as well. look at s&p 500 futures. if they rise 18 points, 20 point, you'll see a record high in the s&p 500. something a lot of market watchers are saying is interesting given the tension you're seeing in the strategically vital area of the world. it's volatile. they're pointing out everything can turn on a dime depending on what kind of developments we see. oil rices, grain prices coming down. russian stocks rose. a snap back from the big shocking dramatic move you saw yesterday. it could be very volatile this week. i want to be clear here. this is no time for investors to change portfolios based on overnight. this is fluid and things could change rapidly. we end with the jobs report for
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the week. who knows? >> when we spoke yesterday, you talked about how the economic effects of russia's encouraging into crimea could be like another diplomat at the table exerting himself. how do you see that shaping up? are thing bouncing back a little but not enough yet? >> i think that's one of the reasons you've got a bounce back here. inside russia you've got business leader, people who are really needing foreign direct investment saying this president, president putin cannot risk damaging a weakening russian economy. when you talk about would russia do some sort of retaliation to europe for example with oil flows? russia needs that business as much as europe needs oil from russia. everyone here has a financial stake in things not getting worse. that's what markets tell us. >> when we hear about european
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nations pushing back on president barack obama 's desire for sanctions against russia, how much is directly tied to natural gas from russia for europe versus other trade impacts as a result of sanctions? >> it's interesting jake because russia's integration from the world economy and european economy is greater than ever before. russia has been wooing international business, multinational companies, foreign directing over the past few years. this step back in diplomacy from the russian president is really causing concern among those who want russia to do business, play like a regular trading partner with everyone else. so it's really kind of -- someone earlier told me it's 19th century politics in the 21st century economy.
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to pair freeze something they said john kerry said last week. there's a lot from people of money in this world that putin not make things worse. >> secretary of state john kerry toured independence square the side of the protests that ousted the ukraine president. memorials honor dozens of protestors killed in violent clashes with police there. here's what secretary of state john kerry said minutes ago. >> what's your reaction to these scenes? >> very moving, very, very moving and disstressing and inspiring. >> do you think that ukrainians paid too high a sacrifice? >> that was secretary of state john kerry speaking to cnn matthew chance. he joins us now with the latest in kiev. what is the latest there? >> reporter: john kerry has gone
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off now from the emotional scenes in independence square. he's gone to meet with administration to discuss the concrete measures the united states can adopt to try and force the russians to move out of crimea or at least put some kind of diplomatic or political pressure on them to do that. you can see the scenes continue to be emotional. lots of flowers laid here along barricades that were the scenes between the protestors and authorities here as protestors tried and eventually succeeded to oust the government of viktor yanukovych. this is the place many of the people, nearly a hundred were killed by snipers on the roof of the building. you can't see because of the fog. flowers have been laid here's and religious symbols, people lighting candles in remembrance of the dead. emotion poems like this here in ukrainian. it reads along the lines,
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mother, i'm sorry i had to go. i was shot by the police. i couldn't turn back. very emotional here. john kerry was emotional when he came by. he was move indeed by what he saw. >> thanks matthew. part of the financial assistance from the united states to ukraine is a $1 billion loan guarantee. i want to bring in the reporter who was on the plane with secretary of state john kerry as he arrived in kiev. what's the reason for this assistance? is it enough? >> reporter: well, jake, the u.s. is giving this particular loan guarantee to help insulate the economy you from the effects of reduced energy subsidies from russia. that's why ukrainians have been getting oil and gas and been able to do it cheaply. now that they want to rebuild the economy, they need to work with the imf on this. one of the things the imf is
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looking for them to do is raise energy prices. a lot is geared toward the energy factor. u.s. is sending technical advisors to work with the government on energy reforms and other types of financial reforms that they need to do to rebuild the economy. they also want to help the ukrainian businesses. they're talking about further assistance. they'll be sending advisors to work on anticorruption and recovering. is it enough? don't know. the ukrainians said they need $30 billion to rebuild the economy. this is a drop in the bucket. >> obviously the administration has been trying to motivate and rally members of the european union to join them in threatening at the at least sanctions and of punishments against the russian government and individuals in the russian
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government perhaps. i'm wondering what you've heard about the difficulties the u.s. has had? we saw yesterday the individual with the british government walking. there was a photograph of him holding a talking point arguing why there should not be -- why the uk should not join the u.s. in sanctions against russia. we've heard from the german government pushing back on the idea of distancing itself from russia economically and diplomatically. how tough a sale is this for secretary of state john kerry? >> it's a pretty tough sale. obviously there's tough rhetoric coming from the europeans. there are two factors. europeans have closer trade ties with russia, much deeper commercial relations. they're getting a lot of oil and gas from russia. they need to consider that. europeans traditionally want to make sure they've exhausted all diplomatic measures before they implement sanctions.
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that's why the german chancellor has been trying to get the diplomatic track together offering putin some kind of monitoring, diplomatic off ramp and contact group. i understand that the u.s. also has been trying to do this, trying to get a meeting of the budapest countries that signed this amendment and agreement to help ukraine build the sovereignty after they give up nuclear weapons. russians say they won't attend that meeting. while there's diplomatic process in place, the u.s. is saying it doesn't matter what the europeans do. they'll have to calibrate how much their sanctions they impose depending on what russians do. they're determined to go ahead. europeans aren't so sure. >> elis oh, labott traveling with secretary of state john kerry. thank you so much. we heard tough words from vladimir putin about the crisis in ukraine. breaking his silence calling this a humanitarian mission.
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he was critical of ukraine's new leaders and said nazis and antisemites are in ukraine. let's take a listen. >> translator: what can cause the use of military force. of course it is extraordinary. firstly legitimacy. firstly we have a request of the legitimate president yanukovych to protect at both the local population. we have nazis and anti-semites in some parts of ukraine including kiev. >> cnn phil black is in moscow. phil, you were listening to
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putin. what's your take away? >> well jake, an interesting point i think is that president putin is still talking about military operations in ukraine in a hypothetical sense. he's denying men in uniform are in fact russian troops. who are they? according to the president he says they're local self-defense teams. why are they wearing uniforms similar to russians? he said they're available in shops across the union. he was asked if russians are involved in securing crimea? he said no repeatedly. that stands against teams on the ground are reporting that have spoken to soldiers and who have admitted they are russia. which explains why they're so well armed, driving armored vehicles and why army vehicles have russian plates.
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>> it's interesting in the of the phone call between merkel and problem. it says merkel expressed the opinion vladimir putin was in another world, did not seem teth t -- seem in reality. that's my translation. as someone reporting on putin for years, what's your take? is this somebody that disconnected from reality or somebody willing to say whatever he needs to say to accomplish what he needs to accomplish? >> i think putin is off viewed rightly as the ultimate pragmatist. he require rarely acts without . his take on what's going on on the ground and what western leaders believe is the claim to a threat to the ethnic russian population in the south and east. putin says there's a direct
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threat to these people and that's why russia is concerned. the west, the united states says there's absolutely no evidence of this. what putin made clear today is is that the military option remains on the table in terms of escalating russia's military intervention in ukraine particularly east of the country if he believes those people there are under threat and call for moscow's help. he says russia will do absolutely everything it can under circumstances to help those people. russia will be legitimate. that needs to be a threat taken seriously jake. >> yesterday, the russian federation ambassador to the united nations spoke of a letter that the russians had been sent from the former president of ukraini ukraine, yanukovych requesting military assistance. as you know, a week or so ago
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yanukovych was saying he did not want russia to go to ukraine. now yanukovych is in russia. i imagine at least a bit behold to the russian government. what is your take on that letter and what yanukovych is seeking that the point? >> well it's another contradiction. putin referred to that letter today. that letter is part of the justification from russia or what they believe legitimatizes russian ax in ukraine. the russian view is yanukovych is the legitimate leader of the country. if the legitimate leader of the country asks for help, russia is authorized and covered by international law by going in there and answering that call for help. the yanukovych position here in russia, well it's unclear. putin says he's only the only leader. he admits he's got no political
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future or chance of a comeback. he says he's told them to his face. from the russian view, yanukovych is political dead meat. they're using this request as yanukovych as justification for military action that could come from russia in ukraine. >> phil black, thank you. we'll be right back with a live report from crimea. stay with us. let's say you pay your guy around 2 percent to manage your money. that's not much, you think except it's 2 percent every year. go to e*trade and find out how much our advice and guidance costs. spoiler alert. it's low. it's guidance on your terms not ours. e*trade. less for us, more for you.
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turning dreamers into business owners. and we're here to help start yours. [ female announcer ] only aveeno daily moisturizing lotion has an active naturals oat formula that creates a moisture reserve so skin can replenish itself. aveeno® naturally beautiful results. good morning. welcome to this special edition of cnn "newsroom." i'm jake tapper in for carol costello. vladimir putin says russia is not trying to annex the crimea
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region that only those that live there can determine their future. a small group of say valcivilia putting themselves between troops inside and unmarked men wheeling guns outside. nearby another group of crimea citizens is raising a russian flag. >> as we mentioned earlier, crimea tv captured images of what was thankfully a non violent confrontation between russian and ukrainian troops at a base. russian troops fire into the air warning unarmed soldiers from approaching. at one point one of the
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ukrainians called the brother nation called out for moer negotiations. let's look at the region. ukraine is one of the top exporters of corn and wheat. disruptions to any commodities could lead to a spike in prices. diana is in crimea. these seem like peaceful demonstrations so far. they seem also to have tension. tell us about it. >> reporter: they are. when you go there jake, you get a real sense of the conflicting ideologies, conflicting loyalties in this region. you have the ukrainian troops hold up in bases asked by the russians outside to swear allegiance to the authority that met many here in crimea don't recognize and think you was forcefully put in under gunmen by a pro-russian militia effectively.
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it's funny president putin doesn't think the troops with russian military plates and russian flags in their military vehicles are russian. what i would say is that in the same breath as he denied their presence here, in the same question he said one day ukrainian and russian troops will be standing side by side in front of the barricades. in fact that is already happening in crimea he said. from our advantage point, i rest my case. who else are they if not russian, jake? >> indeed diana. i'm wondering if you could help truth another claim made by the russian government. that is of these threats, two russian speaking ukrainians from what they describe as ultra naturalistic ukrainians that seem to commit violence against them, what is your reporting telling you? are you seeing indications of that? >> reporter: well, i've seen from both perspectives.
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i was in much of the three months of unrest and heard the labels accusing the far right of being nazi's. it was hard to see anything. they were naturalists. this seems to be enemies at the base. a man came up trying to bring food to the ukrainian troops. we talked to him. he said i have lived here 40 years. i have heard about this posed threat. in 40 years i have never witnessed anything that would give evidence to that. i don't need the russian's protection. in the few days we've been here where president putin cited threats, we have seen nothing. one exchange of gunfire in the crimea capital. we don't know who was behind that. broadly, you know, the pro-russian majority is very much fed a line on russian tv
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that there's a threat. we have not seen any evidence of that threat, jake. >> all right diana with truth squadding of claims made by russian officials. thank you so much. >> the u.s. is suspending upcoming trade and investment talks with russia over the crisis. officials are considering a further series of economic and diplomatic steps to isolate russia. all military to military engagements with russia have been put on hold according to the pentagon including exercises, buoy lateral meetings, port visits, planning conferences. we'll have kevin ryan join me live from russian shar joining . how big is a deal is this to put on hold the military relationship with russia? >> well, as far as i know this is only happened maybe twice before since the end of the cold war. it is a big deal. it happened when russia invaded
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georgia. it happened when nato forces went into bosnia. it's a big deal when this happens. every year the two militaries sign an agreement to do anywhere from 60 to 100 joint activities of which probably from 40 to 50 are actually done. it's a robust cooperation plan. to put it on hold is a big impact. >> do you think outing it on hold is the right move. >> >> absolutely at this point. it's one of the things the defense department can contribute to an immediate response to what russia has done. i heard the conversation earlier about whether this is an invasion or whether these are russian troops. i can tell you for sure. i served in berlin during the end of the cold war. my job was spotting russian troops and equipment. these are unquestionably russian
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forces that are in the crimea. another thing that's important to note is all of these forces are spending huge amounts of time encircling police and ukrainian forces and not protecting the population. their activities and operations indicate a completely different mission than what president putin is suggesting. >> you served in military intelligence. give us a sense of the capabilities that russia has and what you think based on their movements on the ground so far they might be considering. >> well i think first of all the russian military is capable. as long as you keep it within the geographic region. it's not able to project power over too long a distance. the crimea eastern ukraine if it happens, these are places that are within their reach as
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georgia is. they have all modern equipment. they have the helicopters, aircraft, ships, troops, troop carriers. they are an overmatch for the ukrainians. ukrainians have a good military, patriotic. i'm sure they'd fight for the western part of the ukraine. they would fight and show themselves well, but the russians would be overwhelming in the numbers. i don't think it's going to come to that fight. i hope it doesn't. in terms of the crimea, the crimea is already lost. the russians control it. there's nothing the west can do to get it back. >> self-propelled artillery units, russian one, seem to be in crimea now. explain to us, explain to viewers why that is significant. what artillery units, self-propelled artillery, what
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that can do and what that might indicate russians are preparing for a fight? >> if you have infantry units, foot soldiers and smaller gauge weapon, then you're not really looking for a battle with the opposing land army. you're basically doing local operations, police work, self-defense and so on. but by bringing in artillery, russians would have signalled that they're prepared to take on larger formations if the ukrainian military for example attempted to march into the crimea in larger groups. artillery would be vital to repelling that force. >> and lastly sir, as you say, russia seems to be in operational control of the crimea. the next concern according to u.s. officials is whether or not
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they start going into eastern ukraine. when they went to crimea, they had a base they were coming out of. how would they start launching into eastern ukraine? across the border or would they come up from the southern peninsula? >> yeah, i'm pretty sure what they would do is come across the border. they would use the number of high speed avenues of approach into the eastern ukraine, road networks rails and airports. it would not be difficult for them to cross that border and to position their forces wherever they wanted them. let me say that i think -- well all of us may have been surprised by the move into crimea. nothing should be discounted. i don't think it's -- i think eastern ukraine has a lot to swallow for the russian military. although they would have a local
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pop lists supported i don't think they need to do that. they need to keep us and ukrainians busy. >> thank you so much. now we're going to go to the opening bell. you hear that right now. >> investors may be able to breathe easier today. global markets bouncing back despite continued fears over the crisis in ukraine. u.s. stocks are expected to follow worldwide gains. dow and nasdaq are pointing to a higher open. the s&p 500 is within reach of a record high. so what triggered the quick comeback? i'm joined by cnn chief business correspondent christine romans and rana. why has the crisis in ukraine had such a tight grip on the
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global market? >> any type of political instability rattles global markets and stocks. real worries were about energy. in particular was the conflict in the ukraine going to potentially cut off energy supply in europe? the big question is, europe gets 40% of the energy supply from russia. a lot goes through pipelines that run through ukraine. worry was are those going to get shut off? how will that affect the european economy? putin said go back to you're barracks. i think you'll see u.s. recovery too. >> it really will. don't forget the market on u.s. stocks is five years old. this is long in the tooth. at some point you'll see the focus shift from the tensions in
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ukraine between europe and the u.s. and russia and again the strength of the u.s. economy. i'm expecting a lot of volatility here. matt from the financial group told me yesterday there are a lot of people looking for a moment to buy stocks. he says unless there are bombs flying right now, you're going to see -- seriously you're going to see markets calm down and look more internally at the u.s. fundamentals. remember yesterday russian stocks fell sharply, 10%. today they came back 5% bringing back half of their losses. remember the government of russia spent $50 billion to build out sochi for the olympics. just yesterday russian companies and investors on paper lost $60 billion in stock market value. they brought some back today. the pressure in russia because of the volatility in the markets is going to be a powerful player here. >> rana anything you're looking at today?
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>> citibank has the operations of any bank in russia. i'll be looking to see if that stock continues to correct or if there's an upswing. also export companies that have exposure to europe will be most vulnerable. i think u.s. stocks are going to -- and the dollar and u.s. bonds remain reasonably safe haven in the world. that's what you've seen a lot of in the past few years. even if we think our markets are frothy, we look good compared to europe, asia which is slowing. we get a prettiest house on the ugly block effect. >> thank you so much. >> you're welcome. >> thank you. still to come, does the ukraine military stand a fighting chance if a full war erupted? we'll compare the fighting between the two countries after this this break. [ male announcer ] this is joe woods' first day of work.
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bellman: welcome back, captain obvious. captain obvious: yes i am. all those words are spelled correctly. welcome back to cnn's continuing coverage of crisis in ukraine. i'm jake tapper. what if a full war erupted between russia and ukraine? would the nation roughly the size of texas stand a fighting
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chance against russia's military? tom forman joins me now. tom? >> as a simple answer, no they can't. we're talking sanction of this. this is all the border that russia shares with ukraine. it's a tremendous amount of space from which russia could come in any way it wanted to if it wanted to try such a thing. so far we have down here t crimea which basically has been taken down here. the rest is up for grabs. what if ukraine said we're going to stand up to russians? look at comparisons. troop, 160 ukraine, more than 766,000 in russia in active duty. these troops are better off in terms of training, preparation.
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what about reserves? a million in ukraine. to get this to this number, you have to take almost all under the age of 40, anyone you can grab. in russia, almost 2.5 million. this is a better pool with people better prepared. what about weapons? look at aircraft, 400 in the ukraine, not state of the art or the best. in russia more than 4,000. tanks, 4,000 ukraine, not the best out there. in russia you go over 15,000. if you look at overall expenditures of it, in the ukraine going to have a small number compared to what you're going to get on the russian side. you're going to get less than a few billion. close to 70 or 80 billion over here per year spent to support the military. one thing to bear in mind that's
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worth while. if you look at overall situation in this country. this area we've been talking about so much. as the general pointed out, they don't need to go into the area. it's heavily russian any way. it's a problem for western ukraine. russians don't have to go in. if they did, this is open land over here. all forested over here. here it's much more open with farm fields, big wide open spaces, perfect for air assault, troops moving in. when you talk about military option, there's no option here. russians would absolutely rule the day unless a lot of other countries wanted to come in and risk a much, much bigger conflict. jake? >> sobering thoughts. we'll take a quick break and we'll be right back.
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welcome back to cnn's special coverage of the crisis in ukraine. today president barack obama will unveil his latest budget proposal that calls for expansion of tax credits for the middle class and working poor which the white house says is part of his state of the union pledge to boost economic opportunity for all americans. michelle joins us now from the white house. michelle, how do you think this plays out politically considering how gridlocked things are in washington right now? >> reporter: does this have a chance of passing, you're asking? in a word, and you may already know the answer, no. in presenting this budget proposal, president barack obama wants to address the most difficult issues americans face making living and paying for cost of living. working poor, working minimum
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wage and working full time. they don't have the tax credits workers with children do. obama wants to expand to workers without children, younger workers. this budget contains $60,000 billion worth. obama wants to help obama pay for child care, tax credits for people with young children, pay for education and save for retireme retirement. republicans have problems with it in specifics like closing tax loop hohole loopholes. some say this does nothing to address the looming debt crisis in this country. doesn't cut social security. closing loopholes for very wealthy, those in private equity and self-employed is how obama wants to pay for tax credits. sure the minute you mention
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closing loopholes, republicans walk a way. there's no chance of this budget being taken up by congress and passed. it does make a democratic platform for helping middle class workers that we will definitely hear more about going into midterm elections jake. >> michelle, as you know, there was already a budget agreement locking in basic spending for the next two years. this is even more purely a political document than a budget normally is even though they're always almost purely political. has anybody at the white house said the president is going to push for provisions to become law even though the budget is already locked in? is this going to be more than list of priorities? >> reporter: changes are in there. there are a number of changes. even though the spending level has been locked in, he wants to shift things. you know, expanding tax credits while closing tax loopholes. that is always a huge market of
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contention for republicans. they're going to fight this. we haven't spoken to the white house on this leading up to the actual presentation today. but as we said, virtually no chance of these things going through. the president -- especially in his second term, he wants to push for putting the focus on the middle class while they don't have the kinds of loopholes and tax credits wealthier worker doss. >> michelle from the white house. thank you so much. still to come, the in a voi warship is steaming toward the black sea. ivan watson is chasing it. we'll have more in a moment after the quick break.
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there's no need to ask, "are we there yet?" be a weekender at hotels like hampton and embassy suites book now at . . welcome back to cnn's continuing coverage of the crisis in ukraine. ukraine border guards say russian naval ships are blocking both ends of the strait which separates russia from the crimea. the flagship of the ukrainian navy black sea fleet is on its way there. according to reuters, two russian warships are steaming in that direction. before the ukrainian brigade reaches the black sea, it crosses istanbul's bosporus strait. that's where we find ivan
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watson. what are you witnessing there? >> reporter: well, following a flagship of the ukrainian black sea fleet, of its navy. the headman has moved a little bit ahead of our ship. we are trying to show you. it is coming through istanbul. jake, this is the only way that any ship or warship can use to get to the black sea and to crimea, the contested part of the ukrainian territory. the you're craukrainians are ma show of their flagships coming in. there had been some reports that the ship had reaffected and joined the russians. the white, yellow and blue flag of the ukrainian government is flying from this vessel as well as the turkish, red and white flag. they want to make a big show, a point, that their military is
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still intact, though the commander of the ukrainian navy did defect to the russians. they insist that the rest of the armed forces are still intact and still loyal, even though this -- the flagship of the ukrainian navy will not be returning to its home base in crimea. the ukrainian ambassador to turkey, he tells me a number of ukrainian naval vessels have to move near the port of odessa. crimea is overrun with russian troops. >> what are you hearing, ivan, about the two russian warships that are steaming in a similar direction? >> reporter: that's right. this morning, two russian warships also steamed up this narrow channel, also headed towards the black sea and
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presumably, they too are headed towards crimea, where we know there is a substantial russian buildup right now. more vessels from the navy headed in that direction presumably to reinforce the russian presence there right now. the ukrainian officials that i've talked to have tried to insist that they are not sending their navy in to confront the russians. they are insisting they are going to operate like gandy, be peaceful, not fire the first shot but make their presence known. to continue this very steady that hearkens back to the 19th century conflicts for control of the crimea and the black sea, it is remarkable to be here. warships traveling through this narrow and very strategic reach to the crimea, much as warships did 150 years ago.
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there is an added wrinkle to this. the turkish military, i have to remind you and our viewers, we are off the coast of istanbul, turkey's largest city. the turkish military just announced it scrambled 8 f-16 fighter jets in response to a russian reconnaissance plane flying in international air space off of turkey's black sea coast. that does occur occasionally in the past. we hear about scrambling of turkish jets but not of eight. it is also perhaps a sign of how tensions are ratcheting in this area in the black sea basin in connection with this crisis and the russian military deployment around crimea. jake? >> ivan, if you could, because i'm not sure that all of our viewers are entirely familiar with this the geography of this region, explain exactly where you are, where the ukrainian
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ship is going to and where it is coming from. the same thing with the russian warships, the two ships that went through the same straits. we are overshowing a map of the region. walk us through where you are exactly. the black sea is basically a pond. the way they get ships in and out of there is by sailing up this 25-mile narrow channel, the biggest city in turkey. two russian warships came up this channel on their way to the black sea. we have to recall, the headquarters is in crimea. it was rented from the ukrainians. we have another military vessel off the coast here. i can't identify it just now,
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jake. i'm sorry. so the two russian warships steamed through this morning. now, hours later, the flagship of the ukrainian navy steaming through the same body of water headed toward the black sea. ukrainian government officials i have spoken to say that that ukrainian vessel was cooperating with a coalition of warships off the coast of the horn of africa. anti-pie ras. >> scott: now, it is coming back. the reason it is so symbolic is to show to the rest of the world and to russia that the ukraine ya navy is intact. there are no defections and that this vessel is still following the order of kiev. this will be an important channel of water to follow as the tension in the military standoff continues in the
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crimea. >> is there any indication from the russian government why these two naval vessels, russian naval vessels, were headed into the black sea. are they just going shall as might be routine, to their naval base in the crimea or are they not saying? is the russian government not commenting yet on these two ships? >> we don't have a direct explanation for that right now. according to a number of reports, i hadn't been able to confirm, the russians were in the eastern mediterranean off the coast of syria, the syrian government, an ally of the russian government. the turkish government has to allow naval vessels to sail through here if they are members, it if they are from black sea government countries.
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they are supposed to be given -- if they're going to come through. turks said these vessels are performing normal, routine maneuvers. we're being escorted here. this appears to be a turkish warship following not very hard behind the flagship of the ukrainian navy on route back to the ukraine right now. jake? >> ivan watson with some amazing on the ground -- on the water reporting. thank you so much. we appreciate it. the next hour of "cnn newsroom" begins after a break.
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to streamline his investing and help him plan for the road ahead. that's the power of streamlined connections. that's merrill edge and bank of america. good morning. i'm wolf blitzer in washington in nor carol costello. i want to welcome our viewers to
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the breaking news of the crisis in ukraine. we begin with russia's invasion of neighboring crimea. the president, vladimir putin, is digging in on the front lines and tensions are ratcheting up. russian forces fire warning shots as unarmed ukrainian th p troops try to approach them. fascinating, unsettling exchange. follow along. one russian soldier warns he will shoot. a ukrainian response, america is with us. would you shoot the soviet flag and then asked to speak to the commander so they can negotiate. frustrated russian tell the ukrainians to return to their base and accuse them of stirring up trouble. even though the ukrainians are unarmed, the russians warn that they will shoot their legs if they keep advancing. russian president, vladimir
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putin, says even though the action has been peaceful, force will remain an action. he says russia has no plans to make crimea a part of russia. secretary of state, john kerry, arrives in kiev to discuss u.s. financial help for the beleaguered nation. they are sending a message to moscow suspending trade and investment talks. u.s. stocks are making a major comeback today. the s&p 500 hit a new record high only one day after suffering major losses as a result of the crisis? ukraine. let's go to christine romans. christine, what's behind the bounceback today? how do the markets look right now, nearly 200 points up for the dow jones? >> a very solid performance to the market even though it is very troubling what's happening between russia and the west and the ukraine. you laid out nicely all of those developments for our viewers.
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let me tell you the two things that stock investors and markets around the world are really watching. first, the russian troops were told after their military exercises, they could go back to their barracks. that was done. the military exercises over. that was what triggered the beginning part of the rally. in the press conference, when the russian president, vladimir putin, addressed russian reporters, four or five hours ago, he very simply said, we have no plans to annex crimea. that was the second trigger that sent markets up higher around the world. the russian stock market recovering about half of yesterday's losses. here in the u.s. is where you are seeing a lot of the actions and why. a lot of money managers and market watchers and economists are telling me the more uncertain they get between russia and china, china and uri europe, china, if they were to become a player, you have a situation where the u.s. is the best investment in town. you will start to see instability around the world actually be another reason to
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buy u.s. stocks if you are an international investor. that's the story line today. let me caution you. i expect it will be very volatile. we have a jobs report on friday. if diplomacy would take a different turn, you could see the market take another turn very quickly. this market has been up for five years almost straight. so there are some who say it feels a little long in the tooth. for now, the dow up 177 points. a record high for the s&p 500. we have never been this high in the s&p 500. >> as you correctly point out, the next few days cob a bit of a roller coaster as we have seen yesterday and today. >> christine romans, thanks very much. this morning, in kiev, the secretary of state, john kerry, toured independence square. that's the site of the anti-government protest that ousted ukraine's president.
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>> kerry litigators a candle and laid roses honoring the dozens of protesters that died with protests with the police. matthew chance was on the scene for us. he is still there e is joining us with more. tell us how it went down, matthew. >> reporter: this was a pre-planned visit by john kerry to this independent square where you can see the barricades that were once the scenes of battles with the protesters in the ukrainian capital, kiev, and the authorities of president, victor yanukovych, now ousted as the
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president, have now been converted into these very emotional memorials. of the dozens of people, nearly 100, who were killed by snipers and other means by the authorities that tried to push for the overthrow of that regime. you can see people have laid flowers. religious icons and emotional poems as well. this is a ribbon indicating the pro-european stance. it underlies how much suffering the protesters went through in order to achieve the ousting of victor yanukovych. the consequences are still being played in ukraine, in crimea, rather. john kerry came here to pay his respects. i had a chance to squeeze in a quick question with him. he was surrounded by reporters. take a lis to what he said. >> reporter: what's your
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reaction to this scene? >> very moving, very distressing and inspiring. >> reporter: do you think the ukrainians paid too high a sacrifice? >> he wasn't able to give me an answer on that. he was moved on to speak to members of the ukrainian interim administration to discuss what concrete measures the united states is prepared to offer. the united states said it would give $1 billion to help the ukrainian authorities to help the finance ministry and the central bank plan the economy ahead of a much bigger order by the international monetary fund to see how much money the country needs, which is virtually bankrupt to get by the coming months. >> the $1 billion in u.s. loan guarantees means that the ukrainian government could go borrow the money if for some
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reason they weren't able to pay it back, then the u.s. would be on the hook to repay the loans but the u.s. treasury would be guaranteeing that those loans would be repaid. >> thanks very much, matthew chance, for that. we heard tough words from putin about the crisis in ukraine, breaking his silence. the russian leader defended the invasion calling it a humanitarian division. the country led by an illegitimate president. the country only came to power as a result of the queue. >> whether this is legitimate, partly, yes. the rest of them are not. the executive -- the acting president, of course, is not legitimate. the legitimate president is only
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yanukovich. >> the illegitimate president. world leaders are slamming putin's actions on the heels of the german chancellor reportedly saying putin is living in, quote, another world. madeline albright called putin delusional when she was on cnn earlier today. >> he is living in some other world. i this i that either he does not have the facts, he is being fed propaganda or his own propaganda. it doesn't make any sense. there are no calls for assistance. there is this not kind of a crisis in terms of the way the russian-speaking people are in some way being harmed. this is all made up. i think it is part of a much longer-term plan, that putin has had, which is to try to recreate
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some form of relationship between ukraine and moscow. i think that is the tragedy that is going on. putin, is, in many ways, i think, delusional about this. >> stern words from madeleine albright. phil, is our reporter on the scene. you were listening to that lengthy news conference by the russian president. give us your take. >> wolf, this is the putin view. he believes that new government in kiev is illegal. he believes that they are supporting armed groups of ultranationalists who are violent and threatening. ethnic russian groups in the east. he says russia has the right to use military force to go in and crush those groups and protect the citizens if they need to do so. in crimea, there is a clear russian narrative. he denies that there are russian soldiers in crimea securing that region. his view is that these are local defense teams, effectively,
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local militias, who are concerned about what's happening in kiev, rejecting the new government that is trying to hold the country together. what you are seeing is a local grassroots rejection of all of this and a movement. we've heard from the local parliament, a design on whether to vote whether or not crimea should go it alone. that points to a scenario, down the track, where the locals do vote to go it alone, do vote on greater independence. it is very likely that moscow would encourage the international community to respect, to understand and accept that democratically expressed will of the people to determine their own future and et up an independent state. this is not a land grab. he is not interested in ann nexting parts of ukraine. that doesn't rule out an intention to set up crimea as something close to an independent state, albeit one that is heavily dependant and very closely aligned with
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moscow. >> phil black in moscow with the latetivity on th latest on that front. we are getting some new developments. first year on cnn, russia getting ready to say it is declining, declining to participate in talks with ukraine. our foreign affairs reporter, is traveling with the secretary of state, john kerry. you are in kiev, right, elise? >> reporter: right. i am with secretary kerry. >> what are you learning? >> reporter: well, wolf, the us has been trying to get russia to have a diplomatic solution to end this crisis. now, what i'm told is the u.s. wanted to get together a meeting of this so-called 1994 buddha pest amendment.
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they signed an agreement in which they would basically -- ukraine would end its nuclear program and give up its nuclear weapons an russia would guarantee ukrainian sovereignty. that's what the u.s. has been saying. this agreement is not binding but the u.s. has been saying that russia is violating this agreement as part of international law. i'm told there will be a meeting in paris. the u.s. had hoped all four countries, the u.s., u.k., ukraine and russia would be taking part. sergei lavrov has declined the invitation. he will be in paris tomorrow for a donor's conference on lebanon. they had hoped that secretary kerry would be meeting with foreign minister, lavrov while they are in europe. it remains to be seen whether secretary kerry will meet with mr. lavrov but it doesn't look like russia will be taking this diplomatic off ramp as part of the meeting.
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the u.s. hoped that russia, ukraine at the table would move things along. doesn't look good. >> elise labott traveling with the secretary of state, john kerry, in kiev. joining us now, ambassador, christopher hill, a retired u.s. diplomate, the dean of the joseph corevel school of international stud disies in de. what do you make of this that russia has declined this invitation to sit down with the government and see if there is some diplomatic solution? >> well, i think the problem right now is the russians are calling the ukrainians an illegitimate government. it is kind of problematic to sit down with them in the next day. i do believe that there is some real hope for diplomacy, specially between the united states, the european union on one side and the russians on the
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other. i think what the russians have done is put tress the forces of the ukrainian nationalists. they have to be looking for a way out. the issue is whether they are going to try to make crimea, what they gain from this whole mess. that's something we don't want to see. it is going to be tough in the days and weeks ahead specially if the crimeans go ahead with some type of resolution or referendum that would set them up to joining the russian federation. that's the real danger right now. i think we also need to bear in mind that there is a chance any minute that there could be some crisis in eastern ukraine. then, we are in a whole new world of hurt. >> how difficult will it be for the president, the american president shall the u.s. administration, to get all the allies, the nato allies, the european allies, everybody on board the same panel?
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>> the think the obama administration has done very well about that. today, the issue you has been more sort of should we participate in preparatory meetings for the g-8. what kind of level of sanctions should we seek, et cetera? this is fairly low-hanging fruit. i think the issue would be if the russians get into a kind of shooting war with the ukrainians, if they start to objecting pay eastern ukraine or worse yet, use the excuse that they are these militia groups which, by the way, for those that went through the whole bosnian scenario, this was classic serb stuff. one worries about that kind of talk coming from the russians. this is quite a difficult proposition. i would like to make a couple of points. one, i think the obama administration has done a pretty good job of internationalliziiz
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the issue and some of the political critics might want to cut the president a little slack in the middle of this crisis. there will be plenty of time to go over this in the future. this is a full-blown crisis with a great power like russia and our president and administration is trying to deal with it. i hope we can dial it down a notch here in the u.s. i was very impressed with eric cantor's statement the other day coming out of the house majority leadership office to say that the republicans there will work with the democrats on sanctions, et cetera. i think we need a little more of that. secondly, i think the ukrainians are going to have to step it up a little. for 20 years, we have had ukraini ukraini ukrainian dependence. >> i take it you are less impressed by the comments of lindsey graham and john mccain. let me ask you about madeleine
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albreck. do you agree with her that vladimir putin is, quote, delusional? >> well, i haven't met him. i haven't seen him in his state. when we used to deal with malolosovich, he would get his war paint on and there is nothing you could say to talk to him. he had this alternate sense of reality. i wouldn't be surprised if we are seeing a little bit of that from putin. certainly, that was the message from angela merkel to say he seemed to be living in another world. this is what often happens with these guys. their advisers are not known forgiving them contrarian advice. they get a call from someone in the west and they seem to be in an entirely different world. i think that might be an accurate, if not clinical, an accurate description of his
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state of mind. >> you are not a psychologist or a psychiatrist. you can't give us a clinical definition but i get the point of what you're trying to say. ambassador, as usual, thanks very much. >> chris hill joining us from denver still to come, the obama administration under heavy scrutiny for its handling of the situation in ukraine. we are going to the white house when we come back. the recent increase in cafeteria prices is not cool. when you vote for flo, we'll have discounts. ice-cream discounts. multi-cookie discounts. pizza loyalty discounts! [ kids chanting "flo!" ] i also have some great ideas on car insurance. [ silence ] finding you discounts since back in the day. call or click today. i like her.
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ukrainian economy, one way the u.s. is stepping in to offer some financial aid amid the upheaval in the region. it comes amid heavy criticism for the obama administration and its handling of the situation. michelle kosinski is joining us from the white house. what are you hearing over there? >> reporter: hi, wolf. we heard that russian president, vladimir putin, with that lengthy explanation of why he is doing what he is doing. the white house hasn't responded specifically to his words. the world has been watching the u.s. reaction, debating what should the extent of it be and how will what the u.s. does or doesn't do affect foreign policy in the future? these tense days, almost unbelievable to watch, russian troops continuing their move into ukraine, tough talk by the obama administration. >> russia is on the wrong side of history on this. >> reporter: followed by harsh criticism of the president's
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handling of the crisis. >> this is the ultimate result of effectless foreign policy where nobody believes in america's strength anymore. >> reporter: it has stoked anger over the red line assad crossed. >> when the president of the united states says they are going to take military action and they do not, that sends a message. >> reporter: and anger over president obama's idea to cut defense spending. others are looking to take matter into their own hands, to hit putin where it hurts in the ruble, where it continues to sink steadily. an aide to bob corker says he wants by partisan work to develop legislation that will support an urgent, forceful u.s. response, forceful politically and economically. there isn't a military option right now.
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the most powerful nation in the world should have plenty of options. some feel what that is is still not enough. others like senate majority leader, harry reid, stress a united front. >> what i'm going to recommend is that anything that we do would be in coordination with our allies. >> last night, president obama met for more than two hours with secretary of state, kerry, the secretary of the treasury, chairman of the joint chief of staffs. we are hearing about this buzz about sanctions. one that the white house has been actively preparing for. in the white house summary of what happened during that meeting, the administration emphasized that putin still has a chance to deescalate the situation before he faces more repercussions. there seems to be no sign of deescalation.
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>> m.i.t. security studies. deployed sanctions as a tool. >> so who would call for greater sanctions. unilateral sanctions, the u.s. doing it lean, won't mean very much. it has to be done in concert with our allies, germany and others. some of the europeans are a bit reluctant. the urge is to push back and to punish. that's reasonable and good
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policy but how can we take advantage of it? it is not always hitting them with a stick. sometimes it is taking advantage of the errors. they are going to want to be drawn toward the u.s. they are going to want to be drawn towards the european union. we can take advantage in a way that helps us. that's a whole separate avenue of policymaking. >> what are you recommending? >> i would think, we had an op ed. there was an opinion piece yesterday in the washington post by former ambassadors to ukraine. i thought it was very wise. there are several things we can do. we can begin to step up conversation between the e.u. and nato and the ukraine. we have to do that dal cattily. help ukraine consolidate. western ukraine has to be very angry about what's happening. that's an opportunity politically to get that
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government consolidated. the ambassador has recommended inviting international monitors along the border. i think that's a terrific idea. the ukrainian government needs to issue a statement saying no ukrainian of russian dissent or who speaks russian, they don't fear anything. everyone in the ukrainian society is equal. we are going to treat them with respect. each of those steps makes it more difficult for the russians an increases the possibility that we can get a ukrainian government consolidated. i hope there is not a war or more conflict. the reality is, it may be military that fights them but it is government that wages them. this government is a week old. it is in no position to carry an armed conflict. job one is trying to help the ukraine consolidate the government. that's the most important task right now. >> what do you make of the russian statement that china supports russia's actions in ukraine? china, like russia, a permanent member of the united nations security council. >> i think china is going to try
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to stay out of this one. it brings different competing interests for chinese foreign policy. on the one hand, china has always had this long standing policy of noninfeerterference i other country's affairs. that's convenient and an excuse not to get involved when there is an international crisis. during the history of china, they have been happy to intervene military on their borders in border states. that's what the russians are doing. they care about borders. it is good old power politics from a century long ago. the chinese have been known to do this too. i'm sure the chinese have mixed feelings. my guess is that they are going to keep their mouth shut. >> they like to stay out of these kind of matters. jim walsh of m.i.t. still to come, the breaking news continuing, a ukrainian warship steaming toward the black sea. our own ivan watson is following it.
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the ukrainian/russian tensions ratcheting up on the seas. ukrainian border guards say russian navy ships are blocking both ends of the kirt strait. the ukrainian black sea fleet is on its way there. two russian warships have moved into the sea.
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ivan watson is on a boat in the strait for us right now. he is joining us on the phone. ivan, tell us what you're seeing. what's going on? >> reporter: within the last hour, this ukrainian flagship, this frigget went through the straight and cuts through istanbul toward the black sea. there were, perhaps, 40 ukrainians on it's banks with the ukrainian flags and the flags of the crimea to welcome this warship. it was escorted by a turkish warship as well. we've seen a lot of warships steaming through here today. on route to the black sea. all of them with distinctions in the crimea peninsula.
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ukrainian officials tell me warships are not going to be going there. of course, because russian troops have effectively occupied the crimean peninsula. they are moving toward the ukrainian port of odessa. ukrainian officials want to draw attention to the fact that their flagship is headed there. they want to prove to the rest of the world and in particular to the russian media that their military and their navy is still intact despite reports of defections to the russian side. wolf? >> basically, what i'm hearing, ivan, is that the ukrainians have their own sort of show of support, that they are trying to demonstrate, in the face of what they see as russian evil intentions and the russians are making a show of force for their part as well, right? >> well, the ukrainians are there not only because of the thousands of russian troops that
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have fanned out across the crimean peninsula, but also because the commander of the ukrainian navy defected. he basically left ukraine. as one diplomate put it, that man is a judas now. that is part of why they tried to draw attention to the fact that their ship sailed through still flying the blue flag of ukraine. they wanted to counter some media reports claiming that the ukrainian vessel had defected. the ukrainian frigate was flying the colors as they went through istanbul. it is still very clear the ukrainians are outgunned and outmanned by the russian
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military. the ukrainian position is that they are not going to fire the first shot, they are going to stand their ground peacefully as one ambassador put it, like a beg ghandi. the tensions do seem to be rising in the black sea basin. the turkish military announced it scrambled 8 of 16 flights in response to a reconnaissance mission off turkey's black sea coast. that is not a routine procedure to scramble so many fighter jets tichlts a sign that other countries in the region, including turkey, a member of the nato military alliance, are clearly concern as the russian show of military presence in the crimean peninsula and the black sea. >> turkey, a member of nato, clearly, greater implications if this situation deteriorates and
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turkey somehow gets involved in this latest confrontation. that would be deeply, deeply disturbing. a u.s. warship is scheduled to go into the black sea itself. this is going to be a dramatic development all around. ivan watson, thanks very much. i want to bring in tom foreman who is taking a closer look at all this. there is no real competition, military to military, between ukraine's military and the russian military. >> no, there is not. we use this as a show of force on the ukrainian side. a lot of show on the russian side. come in closely. this is the black sea right here. the ships he is talking about are right down in here. they are some 300 miles away from the ukrainian coast. here is crimea up here. we will back you have aaoff and what this means. russia shares all of this border. so for the russian military on land to come in is immense.
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when you think about their naval superiority, that will cover all of this territory. you have well more than half of ukraine controlled from the borders by russia. how much is it controlled? a quite tremendous amount. let's bring this up and take a look at the military strength particularly in regard to the navy ship that you were looking at total number, 25. total number for the russians, 352. this is from global fire destroyers, zero for ukraine. submarines, one. patrol craft, relatively small. destroyers over here, 13. submarines 63. patrol craft, 65. that's just a partial measure of it. there is no military contest between these two unless ukraine gets help from someone like turkey or some of the european nations or the united states. and, as you mentioned a minute ago, a lot of hesitation for anyone to do that for the fear
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of this escalating wider. the ukrainians cannot afford to fire the first shot or any shot. the damage would be so intense. if we go back to the world map, that's why we are hearing so much talk about sanctions. there is no military options, because the russians control it so thoroughly. it is not just at sea but land power and troops and missiles and artillery and tanks. they are vastly superior to ukraine. the only real weapon the world is considering is sanctions. if you take the immense gdp of the european nations and combine it with the immense gdp of the united states, that could put pressure on russia's economy but only if everyone sticks together. without that, there can be cracks that could allow russia to keep slipping through. all right. >> tom foreman, good explanation. >> still to come. pressure from the west for russian forces to back down.
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will vladimir putin listen to the international community. what's in staat stake for the r leader and what it could mean for the rest of the the world.
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president vladmir putin took a bold stance. he said his country has the right to take all measures when it comes to military action. what are the consequences for putin and his relationship with the international community? let's discuss with eugene rumor, a senior associate and director of the carnegie endowments for russia and you'eurasia program. we just learned that russia has declined an invitation for diplomatic talks with ukraine. what's going on here? what's the next step? >> well, i think the next step
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is really to secure the situation on the ground as the new normal. from the beginning of putin's term in office, eurasian immigration, pulling back the satellite countries has been the policy. he saw ukraine slipping away with this association agreement. >> with the eu? >> with the eu, that's correct. specially after the revolution in kiev, he felt that he had no options left but to try to pull ukraine back by some means. so, certainly, moving in to crimea was not really his first choice but it was his weapon of last report so to speak. i think he is trying to create a new status quo. >> i want you to listen to what he said at this lengthy news conference in moscow about the potential use of russian
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military force. listen to this. >> translator: if i take the decision to use military force, it will be completely legitimate and correspond to the norms of international law, because we have the request of the legitimate president and also corresponds to our duties and corresponds to our interest in protecting the people who are close to us. >> basically, he is saying that yanukovich, who was ousted is still the legitimate president of ukraine. that's the leader they want to deal with. this he don't want to deal with this new government in kiev. they don't want to participate in any talks with this new government in kiev. is that your understanding? >> that is my understanding. i wouldn't take it for granted that this narrative will persist. putin, among others, and other russian officials, have spoken
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in very dismissive terms on occasion about yanukovich and his inability to control the situation in the ukraine. so they may be looking at other options. i think quite consistently, for the time being, at least, they have denied the new government in kiev is legitimate. they are looking for a better option at the moment. they may cling to this yanukovich option. i wouldn't take it too seriously. even they probably understand that he does not have much of a future in ukrainian politics. >> i suspect you are right on that front. you have a fascinting article in politico, the magazine. i want to read a couple sentences from it. then, we'll discuss. post revolutionary ukraine is in bad shape. it's economy is wrecked. corruption and criminality remain intact thanks to russia's unexpected moves in crimea, the
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west will have to put humpt y dumpty back together on their own. >> is that going to make much of a difference as far as ukraine's economic recovery and the economic situation in the ukraine now is a mess? >> every little bit helps. apparently, ukraine's financial situation is such that a $1 billion loan guarantee is very much a step in the right direction. in reality, they need a whole lot more. today, the latest news from moscow was that the russians were taking back the discount on gas prices that was about a 30% discount on the gas price that russia was supplying to ukraine. this will put additional pressure on their economy and government. charging them more money will
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not make all that much difference. it is just going to pile on the debt they already owe to russia. that's it. all of this really is nothing new in a sense. unfortunately, in ukraine, we've seen two decades worth of governments that have resisted implemented far-reaching significant reforms. that for 20, 25 years are overdue. the hope is that this new government will have the political will and some material support from the west. it has nowhere else to go. to go to the imf and take a larger fund that will be consistent on implementing these reforms. somehow a package can be put together for ukraine to move foorm. >> eugene rumer, thanks very much for your expertise. we always appreciate it. thanks very much. still to come, we are going to go to nato. the nato leaders have just
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wrapped up a meeting jo ut side of brussels. we'll have the latest on that. troops digging in. russian troops digging in. apparently, you are seeing them in ukraine right now. we'll have the latest. the day we rescued riley was a truly amazing day. he was a matted mess in a small cage. so that was our first task, was getting him to wellness. without angie's list, i don't know if we could have found all the services we needed for our riley. from contractors and doctors to dog sitters and landscapers, you can find it all on angie's list. we found riley at the shelter, and found everything he needed at angie's list. join today at iwe don't back down. we only know one direction: up so we're up early. up late. thinking up game-changing ideas, like this: dozens of tax free zones across new york state. move here. expand here. or start a new business here...
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neighboring ukraine has sent ripples of concern across the region. they wrapped up an emergency meeting to discuss the possible impact on security and stability for key u.s. allies. erin mclaughlin is joining us live. you have the czech ambassador to nato standing with you. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. the meeting has concluded. in mere minutes, we are expecting some sort of statement from the nato secretary general. joining me to talk about what happened is the czech ambassador to nato.
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ambassador, what happened during the meeting? what can you tell us? >> it was a long meeting. we started in the morning and interrupted for rlunch and interrupted now. the main part is summarizing the statement. we unanimously supported poland and its request and wee feel those nations close to the crisis, we feel concerns that are growing. we have agreed that russia continues to violate international law. we also agreed that actually this situation constitutes destabilizing for the whole european community. we decided to enhance or intensify our processes that are
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dealing with strategy consultation, situation awareness. last but not least, with he decided to have a meeting with russia tomorrow. it is obvious that we will continue our close consultations with ukraine. >> reporter: this meeting was convened because poland invoked article 4 of the nato treaty, meaning that either it or other nato members were feeling threatened by the situation in the ukraine. what can you add about the reaso reasons behind why this meeting was called? >> we see this situation as an overall element of destabilizing specially in our region, eastern europe. poland did not spell out any specific threats. i think what is important is
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that just label, article 5, gives very special importance to such a meeting. >> reporter: article 4? >> sorry, article 4. >> reporter: was it just poland he can pressing these concerns or other nato member states? >> in the vicinity of ukraine, indeed, are thinking about consequences of a potential escalation of the crisis there. >> reporter: thank you very much. there you go, wolf. so far here at nato, a three-pronged approach, first, confirming a solidarity among nato members and second issuing support to ukraine and thirdly trying to maintain some sort of dialogue with russia. wolf? >> they are going to try to have a meeting with the russians tomorrow and the nato allies will presumably present this unified front to the russians,
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right? >> reporter: yes. that is why we are expecting that that meeting to happen tomorrow. it will be interesting to see if russia shows up to are that meeting. >> erin mclaughlin in russia. i'm wolf blitzer. with berman and michaela starts after a quick break. captain obvious: i'm in a hotel.
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breaking his silence, russian president, vladmir putin defends sending troops into ukraine and declares it is humanitarian mission and warns th more force remains an option. the president wants to expand a tax credit for the middle class and the working poor.